Atom String Quartet was founded in 2010 by four musicians: Dawid Lubowicz, Mateusz Smoczyński, Michał Zaborski and Krzysztof Lenczowski. Surprisingly for a string quartet, instead of playing pieces from the repertoire of classical chamber music, Atom String Quartet chose to play jazz.
All of the band members are graduates of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and are simultaneously active as jazz musicians in other bands. Mateusz Smoczyński runs his own band (Mateusz Smoczyński Quartet) and plays with the celebrated San Francisco-based Turtle Island Quartet. Krzysztof Lenczowski, along with being an accomplished cellist, plays the electric guitar in Jazz Construction and in Fusionator. Dawid Lubowicz comes from a renowned musical family from Zakopane and is leader of Lubowicz Jazz Quartet and East Wall Jazz Quartet. He has been awarded awarded with both groups at numerous jazz festivals and contests. Jakub Zaborski is probably the only viola player in Poland who is also an eager and skilful jazz improviser. He was a part of Transgress and has recorded with many famous jazz musicians.
Their debut came in 2011, when a live performance in Radio Katowice was recorded and published as Fade In. The album was warmly received by the audience and acclaimed by the critics, which resulted in the signing of recording contract with the well-known Kayax recording company. Soon, in 2012, the studio version of Fade In was released. Maciej Nowotny wrote for Jazz Forum:
This album is a very rare example when so called "third stream", that is a blend of jazz and classical music, sounds neither secondary nor duplicate. In [terms of musical] language, this is a typical string quartet but at heart, this is pure jazz: played meticulously, minutely, smoothly but with a free and adventurous spirit. Although, as is typical for a début recording, it is uneven, it announces a band that may in the future bring a new and original voice not only to the Polish but to the European scene.
By the end of the year, their second album Places was published. The group moved from being a ‘chamber string quartet playing jazz’ to an extremely original ensemble playing music which is impossible to pigeonhole.
As expected, the individual performances are nothing short of sublime, and the entire album is a deeply moving listening experience. However, listeners familiar with their début might miss the "spark" and "spontaneity", which was so evident there and which were replaced here by careful planning, maturity and eloquent elegance. It is therefore almost impossible to compare these two albums, as they in fact present the different facets of the same group. – wrote Adam Baruch / Polish Jazz 2012.
Atom String Quartet was awarded a scholarship by the Polish Ministry of Culture in the Young Poland category in 2011. In 2012 they received a Fryderyk – a major music industry award in Poland - in the best Jazz Début category. In the same year they won the folk music competition of Polish Radio, New Tradition, and were awarded with the Złote Gęśle prize.
Atom String Quartet is often invited to participate in various musical projects. For example, they have performed alongside Janusz Olejniczak, Jan Smoczyński Quartet and Karpiel Bułecka in the Voices of the Mountains concerts as well as with Grażyna Auguścik and Janusz Prusinowski Trio in the Lutosławski`s Folk Roots concert, at 17th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival (2013).
Band's website: www.atomstringquartet.com
Author: W.O. March 2014, sources: atomstringquartet.com, wikipedia, polish-jazz.blogspot.pl, kayax.net, Jazz Forum.
Atom String Quartet
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